Posts tagged: Guantanamo Bay

Military Justice Update – Oct 19, 2011

Stolen Valor Goes to SCOTUS

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case about the Stolen Valor Act, which prohibits anyone from falsely claiming to have won a military decoration. The law was declared unconstitutional by the 9th Circuit (Dist. Ct. decision here) because it infringes free speech. The Justice Department argues that the Act protects “the integrity and effectiveness of the military honors system, ” and “false claims . . . dilute the meaning of military awards.”

Finding Ways to Deal with the Economy. . .

According to the Washington Post, here, three Marines in San Diego received brig time and bad conduct discharges after pretending to be married to receive a $1,200 monthly housing allowance that is provided to married Marines so that they can live off base. A lesbian Marine and her girlfriend pretended to be married to two male Marines, allegedly because they could not afford to live off base. Notably, this couple would not be eligible for this benefit even if they were married despite the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because federal law defines marriage as between a man and a woman. LA Times coverage here.

Taiwanese Officer Gets Life Sentence for Spying

A Taiwanese officer was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of taking bribes, extortion and spying for China, according to the Taipei Times. The officer, a former member of the Military Intelligence Bureau, had to return all of the money he made for his spying to Taiwan. For details, click here.

2012 Authorization Act Could Bring More Restrictions on Handling of Detainees

A DoD press service report, here, notes that DoD General Counsel Jeh Johnson is criticizing the 2012 Defense Authorization Act for “t[ying] the executive branch and military’s hands” with regard to trying military detainees, warning that “Congress must be careful not to micromanage, complicate, and impose across-the-board limits on our options.”

In particular, Johnson cites a provision that prevents DoD funds from being used to bring non-U.S. citizen detainees to the U.S. without any waiver or exemption, and another provision that requires that military commissions exclusively try those charged with an array of terrorist acts to the exclusion of the federal courts. These provisions are similar to those imposed by the 2011 Act, many of which Johnson had called “onerous and near-impossible to satisfy” when they were implemented last year.

Face-Lift for the Military Commissions as Cases Move Forward

The DoD recently launched a new Military Commissions website, complete with news, updates, status information on various trials, and copies of court filings from each case. It can be viewed here.

According to RCFP, journalists are cautiously optimistic about the value of this website in terms of the extent to which controversial documents will be made available.

In other Guantanamo news, the arraignment of al-Nashiri, who is allegedly responsible for the 2000 bombing of a port in Yemen, will take place “within 30 days” according to a statement by the DoD. CNN reports that al-Nashiri will be facing a capital military commission – a decision that al-Nashiri’s defense lawyers criticized in light of the fact that the commissions are not “constitutionally adequate” in the first place.

The DoD’s news release can be viewed here.